Juliette Givhan was able to follow her dream of an out-of-state education after receiving the STARR Scholarship.

Juliette Givhan in the Creativity Exploratory room in Linton Hall. Givhan is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Letters.

Out-Of-State or Bust!

Juliette Givhan always wanted to go to an out-of-state school. Attending high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, she saw many classmates stick close to home after graduation. Since there is only one option for in-state tuition to get a four-year degree, many classmates start at a community college and then transfer in to the University of Wyoming, where they might study fields such as education or engineering.

Givhan wanted more. She felt that she would not have enough room to grow as a person if she continued on post-high school with the same kids she’d grown up with. So out-of-state was always the plan. And for years that plan meant attending Colorado State University, a short 45-minute drive from where she grew up. That plan changed during her junior year of high school.

Room To Grow

During that pivotal third year of high school, when many students begin to consider their post-graduation options, the child of Givhan’s mother’s co-worker was chosen to receive the STARR Charitable Foundation Scholarship. Her mother told her about the award and Givhan spoke to a high school guidance counselor for more information. It was at that time that she first looked in to Michigan State University, even though she had family members living in Michigan. She realized what a great opportunity for growth the scholarship would provide.

“MSU has a much greater diversity of programs and a greater diversity of mindsets,” than was available in Wyoming, she says.

In spite of her eagerness to leave Wyoming for school, coming to East Lansing was harder than Givhan expected. Cheyenne is about the size of Michigan State. It was difficult coming to campus and not knowing anyone, not having a car to get around, and having to find her own way through so many new experiences. It took some time to hit her stride, but the mentor-mentee program that the STARR Scholarship provides helped. She encourages all STARR scholars to remember that there are dozens of students on campus who have been in the same boat, and they’re all willing to lend a helping hand to the newest group of students.

More Than A Degree

Givhan has managed to make MSU’s campus and community feel smaller through her choice in major and her academic path. As an English major, her classes are on the smaller size, allowing her to develop more personal relationships with her faculty and classmates. The STARR Scholarship has allowed her to choose classes because they sound interesting, rather than approach college with a “get in and get out” attitude to save money, and this has led her down exciting new paths. She’s pursuing minors in Italian and African American/African studies, and she is considering adding digital humanities to her coursework. None of these programs were on her radar when she began looking at colleges. It is only through the opportunity to explore the broad course catalog at MSU that she’s discovered these interests. As a second year student with junior standing, she plans to graduate in May 2018. She’s grateful to the donors who made all this possible.

To Givhan, the STARR Charitable Foundation Scholarship was not just a scholarship. It isn’t just a free education, and her experience will mean “something more than just a bachelor’s degree.” This scholarship is the opportunity to study at an institution with a broad range of academic programs, and the financial freedom to explore those programs and craft a degree and career she can feel passionate about so that she can make her mark in the world. “I’m going to figure out what I really want to do in life and make an impact.”

This post is part of a series, Not Just A Scholarship, featuring various scholarship recipients at Michigan State University. You can also follow #NotJustAScholarship on our social media channels to learn more about these Spartans throughout the year.

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